‘Militarism’ of UK Govt must end – Salmond

Alex Salmond of the SNP: Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Alex Salmond of the SNP: Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Alex Salmond has called on the UK Government to “correct the errors” in its foreign policy and “abandon military obsession”.

In a new year message, the SNP’s international affairs spokesman said the government should adopt an “ethical and effective” approach in 2017 instead of arms sales and “knee-jerk militarism”.

The government is providing arms to the Saudi regime and is also participating in coalition airstrikes in Syria.

UK-made cluster bombs, last delivered to Saudi Arabia in 1989 and outlawed in 2008, have been used on targets in Yemen.

Mr Salmond said: “The new year is not one of celebration for many people in countries like Syria and Yemen where the horrors of 2016 will continue into 2017.

“For the UK Government, the new year should be one of recognising and correcting the errors in their foreign policy approach, and one where they adopt a more ethical and effective approach that abandons military obsession and instead puts humanitarian and political efforts at its core. After all, we know that the Foreign Secretary actually personally believes that our allies are engaged in proxy wars.

“You cannot arm regimes with stained military tactics with one hand and then raise the other to proclaim the need to uphold human rights.

“The lessons are clear for all in the last year, from the lessons of Libya to Yemen and Syria. The SNP have consistently called for a wider strategy rather than knee-jerk militarism and we will continue to hold the Tory government to account on these crucial issues.”

A spokeswoman for the UK Government said: “As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, of Nato, of the G7, the G20 and the Commonwealth, our United Kingdom is playing a leading role on the global stage.

“And with a rising defence budget, £178 billion of investment – including in new aircraft carriers and Type 26 frigates being built in Scotland – will help keep Britain safer and more secure.”